Summer capsule update

Belgium is famous for summers that are virtually indistinguishable from early October in the rest of Europe. Then, sometimes you have a perfect warm day and you eat ice cream in a green park and all is forgiven. Due to the weather, I could go quite long with my end-of-winter/spring capsule wardrobe.

But I am really proud I took today off work to have a day to recharge, relax, reflect and eat many biscuits, and finally got round to switching wardrobes!

Jackie O’ is shocked at my inability to fold things properly

Here is what it looks like:

It is not 33 new pieces

About 10 of the previous wardrobe made it into this one as well. A bit surprising given how many clothes I still have in the drawer under our bed. I am not as bored with my clothes as I thought I could be, hooray!

Welcome to #neutralland

I love a good print or pattern, but wearing 1xweek a button-up with a print of overlapping galloping horses taught me where my limits lie. Stripes, dots and leopard are neutrals- other than these I can maybe risk one more garish item. I do have 5 white shirts in this capsule as well. Not exciting, but I have learned in the past 3 months that exciting is a bit overrated when it comes to dressing.

Cheat items are allowed

Having a capsule wardrobe and not shopping are not meant to be strict rules that ruin your life, just a little helping towards more energy for the meaningful stuff. So, if I need an elegant dress for one of the six weddings I am attending this year, I’ll not sweat it and just wear it, no need to swap it out. Same for shorts in the unlikely scenario that we have a day that is a) a weekend b) too hot to wear pants. Same even for clothes needed for holidays in countries in a very different climate.

This section of our wardrobe used to be crammed to the brim with 1/3 of my clothes. Now it comfortably houses my capsule (except pants), the few cheat items, my wedding dress, and J’s shirts and suit. Also, yay for color-coding the clothes!

Take a risk

My first purchase after the 3-months shopping ban was a thrifted pair of hot pink office-appropriate crop trousers. Would I normally ever wear something so bright on my beautifully pear-shaped lower half? Nope. But I thought “F*** it, these pants are awesome, they are 7€, they are coming with me”.  And I love them and apparently the world does not collapse if I wear something not “conventionally flattering”.

Do you have a capsule wardrobe? How do you construct each capsule?




Meditation hacks

My two challenges for the month of May were the following:

  1. Not complaining.
  2. Meditating every day.

Nr 1, I probably failed somewhere around the 4 minute mark, but I managed to start (very slowly) to incorporate mediation into my daily activities. I don’t think it was a resounding success though, so I will try to tackle the same two challenges for the month of June.

I am by no means a meditation blackbelt, despite having made it through a Vipassana session last year. Therefore, I am very keen on approaches that make it that little bit easier. Here are some of them that I have found work quite well (as life is about shortcuts and taking the easy way yeah)

  1. Ten deep breaths

As I said, meditating is haaaaard (there goes my not complaining challenge). Many of us struggle with sitting still for half an hour in the morning dark. However, I found that taking ten breaths concentrating on making the exhale longer than the inhale is a great two-minute activity to reset your batteries. I use this during the day when I get overwhelmed, and before going to bed.

How to do it: Sit or stand still, close your eyes and slowly breathe in, then breathe out, trying to make the exhalation equal or longer in length than the inhalation. It is not necessary to take a super deep breath (you’ll end up hyperventilating), but it is necessary to slow it down.

2. Walking meditation

Mindfulness meditation centers around making yourself focus on sensations, noticing them and noticing their temporary nature. I find that doing this while walking to work is helpful in starting the day more grounded and calm.

How to do it: When walking, scan your body from head to toe and notice sensations. The noise of the tram passing you by, the wind in your face, the fabric of your clothes, the waistband of the too small pants you got on the internet digging into your midriff. Notice that all these feelings are temporary, they come and go- come and go.

3. Empathy/gratefulness meditation

I discovered this approach in the  book Empathy by Roman Krnazich. It is a great way of connecting to the world, practising gratitude for all we have and do, and all the people who make it possible for us to have/do these things.

Today, I am grateful for coffee.

How to do it: Start with your morning routine. During each activity within your routine, imagine all the people who stand behind what you do. The corner shop man who sold you the toothpaste, the person in the factory who made that toothpaste, the people taking away your trash after you are done with it. You can also do it with other parts of your day, little by little.

So, do you meditate? Or do you not complain? Any tips for those starting out?